Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6 p.m. PT streaming live on the MyTeams app.
Kevon Looney has started 13 of the last 14 games for the two-time defending NBA champions. He is averaging career highs in points (6.5), rebounds (5.4), assists (1.8) and field goal percentage (63.3).
All of that seemed impossible about 14 months ago, when Looney was barely in the rotation. In late October 2018, the Warriors declined his $2.23 million option for the 2018-19 season. Back in late March, Looney told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson on the Warriors Plus/Minus Podcast that management's decision was "kind of a let down."
He was a little more demonstrative when reminiscing recently.
"They’re not picking up my option and I’m not playing. How am I going to stay in the NBA?" Looney discussed with Marcus Thompson of The Athletic. "If I can’t get an opportunity to play, like how does it work?
“That was the low point. I was hot, but I was trying to play it off.”
He channeled the frustration and ended up having a very productive season. Many thought Looney would be too expensive for the Warriors to retain in free agency, yet somehow he didn't receive a single offer.
If Looney continues to play like he is now for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, it's going to take more than the minimum to bring him back for the 2019-20 campaign.
But that conversation is for another time.
Other takeaways from The Athletic's feature on Looney:
-Looney's mother is one of 15 children
-When Looney's mother "wound up pregnant a third time at age 29, doctors told her she shouldn’t have the baby. She thought about it for a week. She prayed. "God told me I would be all right,” she said. “And the doctor told me, ‘I pray that your God is right.’ Kevon was the baby the doctor told me not to have.”
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller